John Karolefski

Editor-in-Chief, CPGmatters

John Karolefski is the publisher and editor-in-chief of, a twice-monthly ezine that focuses on building brands through retail. He is also the executive director of the Shopper Technology Institute (STI), the only trade organization for providers of technologies and solutions that engage shoppers and analyze their behavior. STI produces and hosts the annual LEAD Marketing Conference which focuses on Loyalty, Engagement, Analytics and Digital applications.

Karolefski, the former senior editor of Supermarket News, is the co-author of three books: “Consumer-Centric Category Management,” “All About Sampling and Demonstrations,” and “TARGET 2000: The Rising Ride of TechnoMarketing.”

  • Posted on: 01/17/2020

    Wegmans has a better website, but did it need one?

    It's always wise to enhance a website every now and then with better graphics and new ways for shoppers to interact. For Wegmans' updated site, I especially liked the ability for customers to see digital coupons as they build their personalized shopping list.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2020

    Does humanizing virtual assistants undermine consumer privacy?

    I may be wrong, but I believe that virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa are always listening. We don't have to share information with them. They are silently gathering data about us. That is why some folks refuse to invite them into their homes.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2020

    Should Ahold-Delhaize, Albertsons, Kroger or Walmart buy Grubhub?

    Maybe one of them should or will. But here's the more important question: Why didn't one of the big thinkers at these chains come up with a Grubhub of their own, rather than be reactionary?
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Kroger goes beyond meat and looks for impossible growth with private brand

    Kroger has the formula for private label success: Great quality at a lower price than national brands. I expect this plant-based meat alternative to be a success. I also predict that other grocery chains with strong store brand programs will follow with their own plant-based alternatives to animal protein products. The only question is when.
  • Posted on: 12/24/2019

    Giant thinks AR-games are ripe for grocery aisles

    Let's be serious. This sounds like an excuse for parents who can't or won't control their children in grocery stores. How about an app to improve parenting skills?
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Kroger brings the farm closer to the table

    In-store farms could be the next big thing in U.S. grocery stores. My confidence comes from the fact that InFarm operates some 200 farms operated by 25 grocers in Germany, Switzerland, and France. But cost is always a factor. Grocers will need to decide if the investment will pay off.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2019

    Amazon confirms it will open a grocery store not named Whole Foods

    Opening grocery stores to complete with traditional players is no surprise. The keys to success will be shopping efficiency and creative store design. The wild card will be private label.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2019

    Walmart creeps on Christmas with promo deals before Halloween

    Christmas creep in stores has always annoyed me. I was once in a Kmart where there were promotions for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas -- at the same time. Sure, getting the jump on competitors is possible. Getting sales early is better than missing sales later. But some shoppers aren't amused. Do merchants care?
  • Posted on: 10/21/2019

    Jungle Jim’s delivers a foodie adventure

    I have visited Jungle Jim's twice, and both times came away very impressed. It is a Disneyland of food stores -- very engaging, lots of variety, and a fun store to shop in. Retailtainment is easier for supermarkets compared to other classes of trade. They can present samplings, cooking demos, food tours, dinners, and so on. And shoppers love it. Another grocer that stands out for an engaging atmosphere and retailtainment is Stew Leonard's, which I have visited several times.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2019

    Have Giant Food and Stop & Shop nailed ‘frictionless’ checkouts?

    Assuming the costs are reasonable, ScanIt-like technology may be successful for buying a small number of items. It may even lure shoppers away from self-checkout, which many shoppers don't use and some detest due to frequent technical issues with scanning. However, I have a hard time believing ScanIt-like technology will be used by customers with, say, a $200 basket. Shoppers won't want to do that much scanning and don't want to bag their groceries, which they feel is the store's job. Also, who will monitor young teens scanning a six pack and waltzing out of the store? Might Scanit-technology appeal to tech-savvy Millennials? Let's imagine a scenario with mom who has a shopping list on her phone in one hand, a scanner in the other hand, and a cranky toddler riding in a basket full of groceries in a stock-up trip. Yeah, that'll work just fine.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Will customers give Walmart the keys to their homes?

    Just another signpost on the road of crazy ideas. Three words: theft, breakage, Doberman.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2019

    Can grocery shopping make people less lonely?

    Many grocery stores in rural areas are community centers where shoppers begin their day with a cup of coffee in the cafe and where strangers become friends. "Chatter Checkouts" are a great addition to these stores where shoppers -- especially seniors -- are not in a rush. I remember reading a story about a supermarket in England that replaced many traditional checkouts with self-checkout terminals. The shoppers rebelled. As one said, "I miss talking to the cashiers when I check out."
  • Posted on: 09/25/2019

    Are smart carts a smarter way to ‘Just Walk Out’?

    The technology behind this cart is interesting and impressive. But is this cart practical? I have my doubts. One, compare the cost of one cart with the cost of one typical cart in today's supermarket. How do grocers justify the added costs? Customer convenience? Two, shoppers wheel their carts to their cars in all kinds of weather. The carts are often left in the parking lot for a store employee to collect them. Will rain and snow damage the smart carts? I would imagine so.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2019

    Is Amazon Go heading for a hard stop?

    There are several factors: It's too expensive, there is a lack of shopper interest/enthusiasm, and it is inappropriate for very large baskets.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will miniature Meijers be a big hit?

    Meijer enjoys a solid reputation in its trading areas. So its brand will create awareness for its small store concept. Success will depend on two things: One, is the urban store filling a need in the area and two, will the urban store compete against strong entrenched food stores?

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